The 2022-23 girls basketball season across South Carolina is dangerously close to tipping off. As in – next month. But plenty of the state’s premier players got one more tune-up before they take to the court for their high school teams.
The South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association held its annual Elite Camp this past weekend at the North Charleston Athletic Center located right off of Exit 211 on I-26. It was to be held last week, but moved up to the following weekend on account of precautions due to Hurricane Ian.
Stars from all points of the Palmetto State – and all classes – converged on the Lowcountry for what was a thrilling day of hoops. Here is who I had a chance to see among sophomores.
Ratchford was one of four from the Spring Valley roster that received invites to North Charleston for Saturday’s camp. Many of the big plays Ratchford can make are on the defensive side where the steals she collects lead to extra possessions for her team. Ratchford also approaches every game she plays in with a fearless attitude and can make tough shots. She has no issues playing the game on contact which can place her at the free throw line. When she is sharpening her basketball skills during the AAU months of the spring and summer, she is wearing the Palmetto 76ers uniform.
The 4A Redhawks also brought a strong contingency to the Lowcountry. Omeire has a potent 3-point shot and one of the places where that long range jumper can particularly prove effective is when she shoots it from the top of the key. If it is not the 3-pointer she is swishing home, it is a midrange jump shot. Omiere is one who will bring all-out hustle to ensure her team is on the winning end of things. She may be listed at 5-foot-7, but has no problems playing at the four. Omeire can also attack the rim. During the spring and summer months of AAU season, she has played with SC Future.
Somewhat ironically, Vaughn got the opportunity to wear the same No. 10 at Saturday’s SCBCA camp that she wears with the 3A Knights. Vaughn is a resourceful point-getter and can grab steals which enable her team to go the other way with the ball. Vaughn is naturally left handed and consistently will look to come up with big plays. She will shoot the ball with efficiency when long range and makes plenty of effective strides with the ball in her hands. Vaughn plays with a fearless attitude and that is what the Knights will need this coming season to build on their 16-7 record (7-3 6-3A Region) from last season.
The 5A Yellow Jackets are undergoing a transition. With the graduations of Lindsey Paukovitz and Nadia Dial, the latter of whom is beginning her college career at Army, Moore is set up to be the centerpiece of the Fort Mill program in coming seasons. She ran on the grassroots circuit with FBC Carolina Elite. Moore can slice and dice her way through a slew of defenders en route to the cup. She can also be a force to be reckoned with from behind the 3-point arc and can grab rebounds in addition to being a skilled ball handler. Moore is ready to give even more as her career blooms.
This rising star sophomore has proven herself to be every bit worth the cost of admission at the 5A Falcons. A product of the AAU juggernaut that is the Team Curry operation, Kerridge averaged 19.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game to lead Nation Ford to a playoff berth. Kerridge is another who displays her ball handling capabilities regularly. She can come through with big defensive plays and attacks the rim with plenty of quickness. Watch out for her if she has the ball from 3-point range as she is very likely to take and make her tries from deep.
From right down the road at the home of coach Nathaniel Taylor’s two-time defending 1A state champions, Mitchell was one of several in North Charleston that did the Eagles proud this weekend. She will connect on her fair share of turnaround jumpers and will have plenty of occasions where she is in perfect position to corral steals. Shot blocking is another element to Mitchell’s overall game along with putting a good bit of points on the board. She is a strong indication that the Eagles will remain in the statewide spotlight for plenty of years to come.
This past weekend’s SCBCA Girls Elite Camp at North Charleston was not the first time Prep Girls Hoops saw Tucker throughout the offseason. She participated at a team camp at nearby Cathedral Academy where she hooped alongside Generals players. Tucker finishes strong at the rim off of her dribble drives and makes plenty of plays on defense because of the heads-up attitude she brings especially on that end of the floor. Add the large number of points she puts on the board as well and one has a complete player that is sure to help the Patriots’ fortunes even more this season.